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Ontario legislature resumes after tensions flare during Tuesday's session

Last Updated Aug 1, 2018 at 1:31 pm EDT

MPPs at the Ontario legislature on Aug. 1, 2018. (Photo still via OLA)

MPPs were more subdued at Queen’s Park on Wednesday, a day after a shouting match erupted between the governing Progressive Conservatives and the NDP, forcing the Speaker to recess legislature.

The chaos on Tuesday came as MPPs were discussing a government bill to slash the number of seats on Toronto city council.

Premier Doug Ford and his caucus alleged NDP House Leader Gilles Bisson mocked the accent of Tory MPP Kaleed Rasheed as he was speaking in the house, an accusation Bisson and Horwath vehemently denied. The Tories vowed not to answer any questions from the Opposition until Bisson apologized.

The incident led all parties to condemn what they called the toxic tone of the legislature while blaming their opponents for the lapse in decorum.

Even though Speaker Ted Arnott did not hear the remarks, Tory House Leader Todd Smith said Wednesday said several of his colleagues stand by what they said they heard.

“Sometimes, things get said during Question Period. Everybody enjoys a good heckle, [but] sometimes people get carried away. And I think in this case Mr. Bisson made a mistake. I’m not saying that he’s a bad man,” Smith said.

He also said his party would now answer questions from the NDP in the legislature, and it is time to move forward whether Bisson apologizes or not.

“We have a lot of key issues that are on the plate that we want to deal with. And we know what the people of Ontario have questions for us,” Smith said.

However, Rasheed said he still wants an apology.

“I do anticipate [it], but I haven’t heard anything from the member opposite yet,” he said.

At the start of Question Period, everyone in the legislature got a lesson in decorum from Arnott, saying “temperance and language is the hallmark of debate.”

The premier was not present during Question Period.